Bill aimed at modernizing the occupational health and safety plan: the FIQ and FIQP welcome the reform, but the bill does not meet all of their expectations
The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ and FIQ | Secteur privé–FIQP welcome the bill tabled by the Minister of Labour, Jean Boulet, but it clearly does not meet all their expectations. “This reform was long overdue and considering the scope of the law, we will take the necessary time to analyze all the provisions in depth. If our first analysis positively highlights some progress, we want to be heard during the parliamentary work in order to submit amendments that will better meet the healthcare professionals’ needs”, stated Linda Lapointe, Vice-President of the FIQ and political officer for occupational health and safety.
The issue of prevention
For the FIQ and FIQP, the issue of prevention remains extremely important in the health and social services network. “We have denounced it for several years and these last few months have clearly proven us right. A culture of prevention does not exist in the health network. If we are happy to see that all work settings will be subject to all the prevention programs, it is difficult to explain why the level of risk in the hospital sector is described as low. When we look closely at the statistics from the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité (CNESST), there is no doubt that the healthcare professionals incur a very large number of employment injuries”, explained Ms. Lapointe.
With regard to the right to preventive withdrawal (protective reassignment) for pregnant or breast-feeding workers, the federations welcome the standardization of the protocols across the province for identifying the dangers and job conditions associated with them, but they will remain on the lookout to ensure this standardization is not detrimental to workers’ health and safety.
The labour organizations also denounce the deferred application over time, as of 2023 for the prevention programs set out in the law. “40 years without any major reform is too long. Why delay the changes that are necessary, demanded and expected by the nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists even more?” asked the vice-president.
Little for mental health problems
For the union spokesperson, if the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases needed some amendments, very few of them will make any real changes for healthcare professionals. “Lastly, post-traumatic stress disorder will be recognized as an occupational disease, but there is still a long way to go in the recognition of mental health disorders related to work”, concluded Ms. Lapointe.